News in the Humanosphere: USA Launches Airstrikes in Somalia

Soldiers of the Somali National Army (SNA) walk at dusk under a rising crescent moon near the outskirts of Afgooye, a town to the west of Somali capital Mogadishu, May 2012. (UN Photo)

A rather audacious attack, blatantly designed to kill al Shabaab’s top commander. “The Pentagon said Tuesday that it tried to kill the leader of the militant group al-Shabab in an air attack in Somalia, firing several Hellfire missiles and dropping other munitions on an encampment in the southern part of the country. It was unclear, however, whether the target of the strikes, Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr, a jihadist leader widely known as Ahmed Abdi Godane, perished in Monday’s operation. “We are still assessing the results,” said Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary.” (WaPo)

Boko Haram Reportedly Makes a Big Strategic Gain
Boko Haram militants have reportedly seized another town in Nigeria`s far northeast after heavy fighting with government troops, with experts warning the region is on the brink of a “takeover”. The claims were followed by an attack by the group on a nearby border crossing with Cameroon in which 40 Boko Haram members were said to have been killed. Nigeria`s military denied that the northeastern town of Bama had fallen, but residents and a local lawmaker claimed the insurgents had driven out the troops and taken control of a military base.” (Zee News)

Ebola
The United Nations is warning that the world’s worst outbreak of the Ebola virus has put harvests at risk and sent food prices soaring in West Africa. (VOA)

Japanese researchers said Tuesday they had developed a new method to detect the presence of the Ebola virus in 30 minutes, with technology that could allow doctors to quickly diagnose infection.

The death toll from the outbreak of the Ebola virus in the Djera region of northern Democratic Republic of Congo has risen to 31, the government said on Tuesday, as the World Health Organization confirmed there was no link with an epidemic in West Africa. (Reuters)

The world’s “disastrously inadequate response” to West Africa’s Ebola outbreak means many people are dying needlessly, the head of the World Bank said on Monday, as Nigeria confirmed another case of the virus. (Reuters)

Africa
Four United Nations soldiers were killed on Tuesday and another 15 were wounded when the convoy they were traveling in struck a landmine in northern Mali, a spokesman for the country’s U.N. peacekeeping mission said. (Reuters)

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization says more than 1 million Somalis are in need of humanitarian assistance, and at least 200,000 children under the age of five are acutely malnourished as drought hits southern and central Somalia. (VOA)

Citing corruption and a lack of development, there are growing calls among Liberia’s diaspora for the resignation of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. (VOA)

Southern African countries say they will send an envoy and an observer team to Lesotho following an apparent coup attempt over the weekend. (VOA)

The new UN chief for South Sudan arrived in the conflict-wracked country Tuesday, a week after gunmen shot down a UN helicopter to break the fourth ceasefire deal in nine months.

Authorities in Uganda have raised fears that the east African nation’s children are being left vulnerable to abuse and exploitation by a staggering increase in unchecked overseas adoptions.

MENA
Rights group Amnesty International says Islamic State militants in northern Iraq have carried out “ethnic cleansing on a historic scale” in a bid to wipe out non-Arabs and non-Sunni Muslims. (VOA)

The Palestinian Authority has strongly signaled that it will seek redress at the ICC. (NYT)

A second detained American journalist was beheaded by ISIS. (NYT)

The political chaos and unrest in Libya is taking a serious toll on health services, with the departure of medical staff and humanitarian agencies increasing the strain on health workers seeking to treat those injured in the clashes taking place since June. (IRIN)

A record 4.1 million people in Syria received food rations in August due to more convoys being able to cross front lines and borders from Turkey and Jordan, the U.N.’s World Food Programme said on Tuesday.

Asia
A report on Malalai Maternity Hospital, the only health center in Afghanistan with a section devoted to coping complications faced by women during childbirth. (IPS)

Pakistan’s parliament is set to hold an emergency meeting as part of efforts to rally political support for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is refusing to resign despite weeks of opposition protests. (VOA)

A fashion photo shoot featuring five victims of acid attacks is drawing wide attention in India. While the country keeps no official statistics on acid attacks, there are regular reports in the media of attackers targeting victims to disfigure or blind them, often because of spurned sexual advances. (AP)

Floods triggered by two weeks of intense rain have affected two million people in northern Bangladesh and left up to half a million homeless. While the country’s disaster response capacity has been enhanced in recent years, experts argue that with people displaced and crops destroyed the flooding is testing response mechanisms. (IRI)

The Americas
Congress in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila legalized same-sex marriage and adoption by gay couples, despite opposition by conservatives. (BBC)

Cuba’s experiment with free-market reforms has unintentionally widened the communist-led island’s racial divide and allowed white Cubans to regain some of the economic advantages built up over centuries. (Reuters)

Opinion/Blogs
What’s missing in the Ebola fight in West Africa (The Washington Post)

The first Senate confirmed out-gay United States Ambassador, Michael Guest discusses his long career in the foreign service and why he was compelled to resign to take a stand for equality. (UN Dispatch)

Why Principle Matters at UN Human Rights Council (IPS)

Who Are You Calling Corrupt? Good Governance Begins at Home (Think Africa Press)

Now Is the Time to Act on Climate Change (Huffington Post)

Zhao Zhong: Lessons from the Bottom Up (Policy Innovations)

Avoiding the Resource Curse in Mozambique (AfricaCan End Poverty )

Lessons Learned from the Ebola Epidemic (On the Ground)

What is It Like to be a ‘Digital Immigrant’ in a Developing Country? (Center for Financial Inclusion blog)

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About Author

Tom Murphy

Tom Murphy is a New Hampshire-based reporter for Humanosphere. Before joining Humanosphere, Tom founded and edited the aid blog A View From the Cave. His work has appeared in Foreign Policy, the Huffington Post, the Guardian, GlobalPost and Christian Science Monitor. He tweets at @viewfromthecave. Contact him at tmurphy[at]humanosphere.org.